UK Oil & Gas and its partners in the Horse Hill Developments (HHDL) company drilling for oil close to Gatwick Airport, have applied for planning permission with Surrey County Council for a further round of drilling.
The HHDL group, in which AIM peers Alba Minerals, Doriemus, Gunsynd (until recently called Evocutis), Stellar Resources, Regency Mines and Solo Oil all have a stake, has applied for further "significant" appraisal testing and drilling at the oil discovery in the PEDL137 licence area, which they expect to take around 13 weeks.
If approved, the companies intend to extend production testing of four zones to confirm the commerciality of the discovery, and to examine a previously untested area.
The planning application includes a possible two-well drilling phase to see how much further the oil field spreads out, with a deviated sidetrack to be drilled from the existing HH-1 borehole, together with a new well, called Horse Hill-2.
"In order to minimise impact to the locality, feedback from both a public consultation and engagement process, undertaken in July, and subsequent meetings with local residents' representatives, was incorporated into the envisaged development design and planning application," the companies said in a statement.
UKOG executive chairman Stephen Sanderson said the application is "designed to move these assets into near term oil production and the monetisation of our core recoverable resources".
"It is also one of the next key steps in furthering our industry leading knowledge of the Kimmeridge limestone play that lies beneath our extensive acreage holding in the Weald. We look forward to further engaging with stakeholders and to a successful planning outcome," he said.
HHDL owns a 65% working interest and operatorship of PEDL137, with the remaining 35% interest held by Magellan Petroleum (UK) Limited.
UKOG owns a 48% beneficial shareholding in HHDL, which equates to a 31.2% net working interest in the licences, while Alba owns 15% of HHDL, Doriemus, Stellar and Solo each own 10%, Regency owns 5% and Gunsynd owns 2%.
Broker Shore Capital noted that, across three productive horizons, Horse Hill-1 has already seen the highest stabilised rate of dry oil flow seen in any exploration well onshore UK, "and we are pleased to see submission of this planning application as the partners aim to fully appraise the project and generate near term production revenues".